State of disaster declared in two South African provinces

 ·8 Nov 2023

The National Disaster Management Centre has declared the September floods as a National Disaster for the Western and Eastern Cape.

“We are pleased with this declaration, as it now enables all three spheres of government to work together to fund and repair the damage left in the wake of the unprecedented rains experienced over the Heritage Day Long Weekend in September,” Anton Bredell, Western Cape Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning said.

Bredell added that the disaster classification allows the provincial government to approach the National Disaster Management Centre for relief funds to repair damage to infrastructure, including buildings, roads, bridges and water networks.

The damage caused in the Western Cape due to the floods is calculated at R441 million for provincial infrastructure and R154 million for municipal damages.

“We will now request the National Disaster Management Centre to approach National Treasury with these numbers. There is no certainty on how much or when we will receive any support from the national government. The provincial government will reprioritise existing budgets and continue with our own recovery efforts as best we can,” Bredell said.

Following the floods, the N1, N2 and over 150 other roads were closed. This has now reduced 22 roads that are closed as repairs have been prioritised for routes that are crucial for economic activity.

The Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning has also finalised 196 applications of the 238 recovered to do emergency repairs in rivers and streams.

Although these normally require lengthy environmental approvals, the department used Section 30A of the National Environmental Management Act, which allows for verbal approval in emergency situations to prevent or contain further damages in impacted areas.

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